If you’re recovering from an injury or illness and your doctor has given you the ok to be active again, then hiring a treadmill is the best thing to do to start exercising. Treadmills are recommended for physical rehabilitation because they provide better cushioning than outdoor paved surfaces. You can also use them at home at a controlled, set pace.
How treadmill training can help rehab
Studies have shown that a treadmill can be an important aid in rehabilitation for different kinds of injuries and ailments. For example, a sample of stroke survivors were tested after walking on a treadmill for three 40-minute sessions per week. It was found that parts of their brain had increased activity and that the exercise stimulated new or underused brain circuits.
For walking and overall fitness, stroke survivors fared much better after using the treadmill than those who simply stretched, which is the exercise traditionally prescribed after a stroke.
Tips for a healthy rehab routine using a treadmill
For a runner, an injury can be frustrating as it disrupts fitness routines and can reduce muscle tone. A treadmill can be an asset for runners who have sustained an injury, as it minimises downtime and offers an easy progression back to exercise.
The most important thing to remember is to slowly reintroduce the action of running to your body and injured area. It’s not to build up aerobic endurance. So starting out small is essential.
Start with 5 – 10 minutes after a very easy warmup and assess for pain and symptoms. The idea is to get the blood flowing to the muscles, to improve their flexibility and stability. A good quality treadmill provides a more cushioned surface to run on than pavement, thereby lessening the force of impact on knees and joints.
With a treadmill, you can maintain a specific stride rate and length, and the incline function is also helpful as it builds up strength. In general, an incline of 3-8% is recommended for rehab runners.
Controlling speed is also a factor in rehabilitation, and with a treadmill, you can measure this precisely. The console gives you information about how fast you’re running as well as distance and calories burned. Speed can be increased slowly as toleration builds, but running too fast for too long increases the risk of injury, so short efforts are best.
These are general guidelines for treadmill rehab. Always seek advice from a physiotherapist before you return to running after an injury. Take note of these simple actions to maintain a healthy and safe routine:
- Always warm up prior to a treadmill workout
- Begin with small increments of running at a low intensity
- Avoid overstriding
- Use cross-training to build aerobic fitness rather than the treadmill
- Gradually add intervals of a faster pace
- Vary the incline and adjust as tolerated
- Transition to outdoor running by incorporating the treadmill.
See Macrae’s range of treadmills, available for short or long term hire today!